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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 05:10:02 AM   #1
Dirty Elf
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Default My first M3 and road trip.

Hello guys! I've been lurking (and posting in the for sale section) now for a few months.

Well, I finally did it. I bought a ///M! It is a 2004 silver-grey 6-speed coupe.

I flew up to Saint Louis, MO and bought it from a super nice guy. My roommate and I drove it back to Central Florida over the next two days. The trip was awesome and I took some pictures of our adventure.

Let me start off with what I used to drive. Here she is, my high school car, a 3-speed auto 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. I love this car, but after about 8 years with her, it was time to go.



Needless to say, after having this car for 2 years in high school, 5 years in college, and 1 year of being a professional, it was time for an upgrade. So like I said I flew up to Saint Louis, MO and bought my self an e46 m3.

The trip started out with the flight into Saint Louis. We stopped and changed planes in Kentucky and then flew over the Saint Louis Cardinals game as it was going on, which was pretty cool. A friend in Saint Louis picked us up from the airport and we hit downtown Saint Louis that night. Had a great pumpkin beer, Ferguson Pumpkin Ale, I highly recommend it. The next day we woke up and drove over to pick up the M3. Transaction was smooth, and we made it before the DMV closed at 1pm to get the temp tag. Here I am, when I first saw it.



Now we were on our way to Columbia, MO where my roommate was from. He attended the University of Missouri for 2 years and it was their 100th anniversary homecoming game. First we took a pit stop for some much needed food and time to admire the beast that I just aquired.



Then it was time to get on the highway, and this was my first experience with an M. I had driven one or two of them in my quest to find the car for me, but never had a chance to do it like this. I just had a **** eating grin all over my face. It would not go away.



The road to Columbia, MO was mostly flat and smooth through the cornfields and basically nothing in the middle of nowhere. We arrived in Columbia just before halftime and walked over to the stadium. We got some cheap tickets from a guy outside and went in to enjoy the rest of the game. Mizzou stomped Iowa State 50 something to 17. College football is always a good time.



After the game I drove to my roommate's parents house and parked the car there for the night while we went out downtown Columbia. Had some pizza and beers and a general good time. The nightlife in Columbia is awesome, its a giant college town. Didn't stay out too late because the next morning we had to get up early for the first leg of the road trip back to Florida. I took some time in the morning to admire the beauty.



Then we got on the road. We left from Columbia about 8:30am and headed back through Saint Louis, across the Missouri river, and then were on our way through part of Kentucky to Tennessee. Along the way we passed another bimmer who wanted to play. We stopped for some gas in Illinois, and passed some roads that all looked the same until we went through Nashville, TN. It was refreshing to see something other than trees and road. After Nashville we stopped for some food and I took over driving again.



Now we were headed into the mountains. Remember that smile I had when I first got this car on the highway? Well it came back. The roads were built for this car, and it was a blast. The car literally does exactly what I tell it to. It is such a good feeling. We hit the mountains and drove through Chattanooga, TN on our way towards Atlanta. Just before hitting the city we stopped for some food and I snapped one of my favorite pictures of the car under the street light.

(pics from mountains, below)

Then a little bit after finishing up the McDonald's apple pies I got back on the road and we headed into the dirty south, Atlanta, GA. My roommate forgot that the camera was on auto mode and at night the shots from the city got all messed up from the long shutter times. Oh well. If you want to know what Atlanta looks like, google it.



After getting through the massive city that Atlanta is, its was East to Augusta, GA where my aunt and uncle live to stay the night. They have 13 cats that live with them. I think I escaped with no scratches on the car. The next morning I kept peeking out the window to make sure that none of the little critters were sitting on my car. Woke up early the next morning and stopped for some gas before hitting the road back to home.

(pics from Augusta, below)

From Augusta to I-95 there was no main road so we took some back roads through the hills of Georgia, and on Sunday morning they were quite empty seeing as we were in the middle of nowhere. My roommate was doing the first leg again. We drove past all kinds of small towns, every one had a water tower, and a lot of empty rolling roads. Everything was going great until a sheriff went through the median from the other side of the road and got behind us. Lights flicked on... $@#!... My roommate got pulled over, 85 in a 65. Side note: don't ever speed in GA, it costs a lot. After that it was slow going through the rest of the back roads till we hit I-95. We stopped for food, gas, and 40's before crossing back into Florida and I took the reins again.

(pics from GA, below)

Next it was down I-95 through Jacksonville. I had been there before but it was still a cool sight to see. There was some traffic coming through the city near rush hour, but nothing too bad. Actually it was a good thing because I ran into a fake M3 along the way. A black convertible which was clearly not an M3. I followed him through the city and then when the road opened up I got next to him and waved. He looked ashamed, and slowed way down to let me get ahead of him. It was quite fun, but I was ready to be home.

(pics from Jax, below)

Finally familiar territory, Fields BMW in Winter Park, Florida. Almost home. Then into the city, Orlando, FL. Finally made it back. 1,342 miles. It was the best road trip, due mostly to the car. I could never have done something like that in my old car. I used to dread the 3 hour trip home to my parents' house, now I cant wait for Thanksgiving when I get to drive the car down to South Florida. Really an awesome car.

(pics from Orlando, below)

After that trip I've decided I'm going to keep this car till the day I die. If i plan on doing that I need to take good care of it. I had been searching for one of these cars for quite a few months and been lurking these forums. I've been keeping a list of maintenance items that come with a car this old. It is pretty much everything from the sticky's on the forums here. If someone could help me prioritize this list so I can begin to knock the preventative maintenance out. Obviously I will continue to do regular 7,500 mile oil changes and replace any immediate failures, but if I could get some suggestions from this list as to what to start tackling slowly to keep this car running for a long time, I would be very appreciative. If you would like you can take it to PMs but the information is probably useful to others as well.

Here is my list. The car had the RTABs, AC belt, and air filter replaced at 61k and had the serpentine belt and a rear spring replaced right before I bought it. I need to replace the o-ring on the CPV as well because there was a small oil leak indicated there on the PPI.

rear subframe inspection/reinforcement
subframe bushings
guibo/CSB
oil/filter
diff fluid
tranny fluid/bleed clutch
remove cdv
power steering fluid
coolant flush
tensioner and idler pulleys
belts -ac, serp
fuel pump/filter
coil packs
spark plugs
head gasket
vanos... cam bolts, sealing plate o-rings?
clean maf
misc bushings, bearings, ball joints...?
front control arm bushings
RSM - rear shock mounts
valve adjustment - timing issues?
air filter
cabin air filter
tranny mounts
brake fluid flush
brake pads/rotors
engine mounts
cooling system - radiator, thermostat, water pump, fan clutch, hoses
alternator
starter
CPV and o-ring
clutch
differential mount bolts
wheel bearings
clean interior, vacuum, condition leather
install sound system

Sorry for the long, long post. I figured I would make my first post a really good one!

Thanks!

Last edited by Dirty Elf; Tue, Oct-25-2011 at 05:14:40 AM.
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 05:12:09 AM   #2
Dirty Elf
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

(pics from mountains)




(pics from Augusta)




(pics from GA)




(pics from Jax)




(pics from Orlando)
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 05:45:23 AM   #3
vongeiss
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

Wow, I like your thread, what an intro haha. It sounds like you had a blast in the car on the way home.

I'm not gonna go down the whole list right now but I would prioritize reinforcing the rear subframe mounting points and the cooling system. Some of the things you mentioned like vanos issues, you might want to hold off on until they actually arise, because some cars don't have issues there, and others have many. Most of the time there is fair warning in sounds and noises from the motor.

Anyway, don't worry about these things yet, good luck and enjoy the car some more!
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 05:48:54 AM   #4
bh1976
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

Great car. How many miles? I don't think you have to worry about half of those things on the list. Have fun. what do you do for a living?
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 05:52:21 AM   #5
Dizzeep
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

like the others have stated great first post! enjoy the car!

Post bigger pics if you can
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 06:12:44 AM   #6
Foo2rama
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

Wow man, awesome, and welcome to the fold!
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 06:35:53 AM   #7
RSRlover4life
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

Lol, thanks for posting pics of yourself up. Welcome to the internet

Anyway, welcome and dont worry, your car is fine. Do not pay much attention to what goes on in here since its over dramatized 99.9% of the time.

Main thing, just check subframe and keep the Inspections up to date.

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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 06:37:21 AM   #8
Dirty Elf
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

thanks guys. i appreciate the welcome. im a mechanical engineer here in central florida.

the ride home was a blast.. i had so much fun. this car is clearly meant to be driven.... and i will oblige

the car had about 85k on it when i picked it up, after the 1300 miles home it sits at 86.5k now. i didn't make that list of things that i need to do right away, i still need to get it up on stands in my buddies garage and go through it thoroughly.. i was just making a list of things to begin to pay attention to as the miles near 100k and figured some were more important than others. my task now is to prioritize that list. like i said i never want to get rid of this car, and never will.

as for larger pictures.. click them

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Lol, thanks for posting pics of yourself up. Welcome to the internet
heh, have at it... i aint scared!
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 06:46:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

Air filters
belts
spark plugs
oil change(get it done even if the guy claims he just did it)
replace brake fluid(most likely new pads/rotors as well)
Get inspection when it comes up
subframe
upgrade exhaust
check control arms/bushings and replace as necessary
check alignment/camber
alternator/battery
and other regular parts to replace
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Old Tue, Oct-25-2011, 06:51:21 AM   #10
beam
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Default Re: My first M3 and road trip.

i would put the vanos bolt higher on the list, at least an inspection.
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Discussing My first M3 and road trip. in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)